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View Full Version : Am I going to be creating too much work here?



Stadge
2012-02-02, 06:52 AM
First of all, I'll be using 4th edition D&D, but I'm posting here for the possibility of general advice.

The short question is, will attempting to DM a 4th edition D&D game with very little in the way of physical resources (out of game) prove too much hassle?

Longer-information laden stuff:

OK, after ages of not being able to, a group of my friends now want to try out d&d, I'm keen on the idea, and would be more than happy to DM as I love world building and it also probably helps that I have some experience, having ran a brief 4e edition campaign several years ago that ended due to players moving elsewhere.

Now this, would be all well and good, only, I don't have any rules with me, having left PHB 1 and 2, the martial and arcane book, Open Grave, DM Guide and Monster Manuals 1 and 2 at home. None of us can really afford to buy stuff from scratch, and whilst we could probably chip in, the question of overall ownership would probably become an issue when we leave.

So yes, so far, I have a group of keen players, but no rules other than the ones half remembered in my head....

But I think I might be able to do something. I'm a D&D insider subscriber from ages back, which I think will help a lot, well in terms of PC and encounter building stuff. I'm also aware that WotC offer their Quick Start rules as a free pdf, along with Keep on the Shadowfell.

So with this my plan is to use Insider for the technical character creation/management aspects, monster selection/building and general encounter creation, the quick-start rules for the basis of combat and other mechanical rules, and then for the rest rely heavily on role-playing and essentially winging (or at least deciding a rough difficulty for rolls to do stuff).

Oh, I know Insider has loads of content, but Iíll probably limit it to mostly things that I'm already familiar with.

So essential my main questions are; is this possible to do? Will it likely be far too much work for a lapsed DM?
.
And as a sub-question, what did people make of Keep on the Shadowfell? Does it hold up as a good intro adventure? And if not can anyone recommend something else? On the whole I'm keen to make my own adventures again, but thought it bets to start out with something like this as a base.

Thanks for reading guys.

NikitaDarkstar
2012-02-02, 08:17 AM
I'm not too familiar with 4ed so I honestly don't know if it's doable or not but could you possibly consider running 3.5 (or any other system that at least has it's core stuff available online.) until you're able to get your hands on your 4ed rule books again? The reason I'm wondering is it has pretty much all it's core rules out there and free to use so it might make it easier on your new players.

But as I said, I'm not familiar with 4ed so I really don't know how much you get with the quick start rules.

Bearpunch
2012-02-02, 09:48 AM
I second using 3.5 or PF's online (free) rules, but if your heart is set on 4e, I don't see how you would have that much of a problem. If you are a current subscriber to Insider, then I am pretty sure that everything you could possibly need to DM is on there, it's just a hassle to look everything up on a computer.

I haven't checked out the quick start stuff, or Keep, but I have heard good things about it.

Siegel
2012-02-02, 09:53 AM
The problem is that 4E only really works as intended with minis and a battlemap

Alejandro
2012-02-02, 10:06 AM
A grid mat is fairly cheap to get (make sure it's one that you can write on with markers and erase.) If you don't have minis, you can always use coins, bottle caps, or even make your own tokens.

DaMullet
2012-02-02, 10:24 AM
For the longest time I used LEGO men on graph paper until I got a battlemat and proper figs (though the proper figs were actually from Star Wars, they at least had bases). As long as your players get the idea, you can do it, though magic will be tougher to use with 4e's reliance on 'squares'.

Tyndmyr
2012-02-02, 10:27 AM
I second using 3.5 or PF's online (free) rules, but if your heart is set on 4e, I don't see how you would have that much of a problem. If you are a current subscriber to Insider, then I am pretty sure that everything you could possibly need to DM is on there, it's just a hassle to look everything up on a computer.

This.

Minis and map are very helpful for 4e, but you can always mash together some tokens and a basic grid yourself if you have to.

Mastikator
2012-02-02, 10:30 AM
I've tried to DM a game without any access to rules other than my memory.

This is what you need to do. Write down the rules you remember, and fill in the gaps. Otherwise it'll basically be free form, which is fine, but false advertisement.

Or just buy the books.

DeltaEmil
2012-02-02, 10:48 AM
The most important thing is that players know all their powers OR have it in front of them (either in power cards, or written on their character sheet, with every power detailing what bonus to hit against which defense, and what it does if it hits, if it misses, what general effects it has and whatever).

Aside from that, the only thing you'd need as a gm is to know what the status effects do, like for example, does being prone or grabbed grant combat advantage? What is the difference between immobilized and restrained? How much can you move if you're squeezing? And other such things.

Of course, if the adventure might entail a few combat encounters, then having monsters prepared (having their stats written in front of you) is also necessary. But you can generally create your own monster, knowing that minions have only 1 hp and never take damage if they are not hit, and only deal a fixed amount of damage, elites have twice the amount of normal monster hp, and solos have four times standard monster hp. And vary the attacks, unless you're okay with the monsters always doing the same attack.

erikun
2012-02-02, 11:55 AM
The biggest problem you're going to run into is the list of character powers. I don't know about you, but I don't recall the 40+ basic powers of my favorite class.

Beyond that, I don't see you having much of a problem. As others have said, getting a free online system might work better, if only for awhile. I might recommend Fudge (http://www.fudgerpg.com/goodies/fudge-files/core/FUDGE-1995-Edition-(PDF)/) for putting something together from scratch.

Lochiel
2012-02-02, 01:06 PM
My suggestion;
Use the DDI software for character creation & finding monsters for your encounter. ($10/mo.)
Get the 4E Essentials Rule Compendium. It has all the rules you'll need, but none of the suggestions and guides that are really useful. (I got mine for $15, and as a player it is easily the best D&D purchase I've made)
Get a battlemat, and use stuff you can find for the minis. ($15)

If even that is too expensive for you, look into playing at your local gaming shop. My local gaming shop is often willing to loan out or help out with some basics. Plus you may find a player or two with gear they'd be willing to let you use.

I found 4E to be easy to get into and easy to play, so I think it's a great start for new players.

Tvtyrant
2012-02-02, 01:12 PM
We use pennies for minions, nickels for brutes, dimes for elites, quarters for leaders, and golden dollars for solos. Then you flip them from heads to tails when they are bloodied! Each of us has a lego figure.

Firest Kathon
2012-02-03, 05:15 AM
A grid mat is fairly cheap to get (make sure it's one that you can write on with markers and erase.)
Or just make one yourself: Open up your favorite word processor, insert table, set row and column size to 1 inch / 2.5 cm. Set page borders to the minimum your printer allows. Print 1 or more. Cut off remaining border. If you want it erasable, laminate it. If you need bigger than what your printer supports (or you can laminate), just tape several pages together for larger grids.